gas chromatography phthalate analysisThis blog has featured chromatography applications for phthalates in food and consumer goods before but several items of news came together for this blog post including two recent stories on the continuing presence of phthalates in food, an EU methodology for bis-(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate (DEHP) in sports drink (link at end of post), and our recently released, sensitive quantitative gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) analysis of phthalate esters in soft drinks!

In the first story, a recent study conducted in New York State, the first of its kind, found the presence of phthalates in in all 72 items tested (link to study), and then, last month, the U.S. FDA sent out a notification reporting that “certain food and beverages exported from Taiwan to the U.S., particularly fruit juices, were produced with emulsifiers containing undeclared phthalate plasticizers, specifically diethylhexyl-phthalate (DEHP).” (Link to U.S. FDA notification.)

By the way, if you are unfamiliar with phthalates, these compounds are the main plasticizers used as softening agents in the production of PVC. As many studies have found these compounds to act as endocrine disruptors and cause birth defects among other disorders, many regulatory bodies around the world are restricting the use of particular phthalates in many consumer and medical products.

Application Note 20735, Determination of Phthalate Esters in Soft Drinks By GC-MS, (link to page where you can download the PDF) was developed in our Runcorn UK Applications Lab and describes a highly sensitive method that determines 15 phthalate ester compounds in less than 24 mins. The high sensitivity for the detection is the result of combining our ultra, low-bleed gas chromatography column (Thermo Scientific TraceGOLD TG-5MS column) with our multi-channel gas chromatograph (Thermo Scientific TRACE GC Ultra Gas Chromatograph) coupled with our single quadrupole mass spectrometer (Thermo Scientific ISQ Mass Spectrometer).

By the way, here’s the EU methodology Technical Note referred to in our application note: Determination of bis-(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP) in sports drinks by isotope dilution headspace solid phase micro extraction gas chromatography mass spectrometry (HS-SPME-GC-MS), (downloadable PDF).

And, two previous posts on the analysis of phthalates on this blog:

Do let us know if you have any questions using the Comments box below; our experts look forward to hearing from you.